Catholic Charities Newsletter

June 2019

From the Director’s Desk

Greetings!
 
After an historic 2018-2019 winter season, spring seemed to arrive with just as much tenacity. Of the thirty counties within the borders of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, Governor Kim Reynolds issued twenty of these counties with a state of emergency declaration.
 
With such a large span of our diocese impacted, Catholic Charities’ staff quickly shifted attention from their previously scheduled assignments to stay abreast of the conditions and updates funneling in. Staff reached out to all 74 parishes located within the 20 counties impacted, as well as community members and government representatives to assess need for assistance.
 
Catholic Charities is a source of support to parishes prior to a disaster in the preparedness stage and then again in the long-term recovery stage of a disaster. Catholic Charities is not a “first responder” in times of disaster. There are many groups such as Emergency Management Agencies, Red Cross and others who are on-site immediately following a disaster. These groups also collectively decide when and how volunteers are needed. 
 
Catholic Charities is represented on local Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) groups throughout the diocese. At the table are other representatives from faith-based and secular agencies that meet routinely throughout the year in preparation of the next area disaster. These COAD groups, in addition to other committees, help Catholic Charities stay connected to resources and identify gaps in need year round. When the Red Cross and other first responders leave a community and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) financial assistance has been awarded, communities are left on their own. This is when Catholic Charities is available to be part of the COAD’s to ensure no person impacted by disaster falls through the cracks. Catholic Charities has been awarded a grant from Catholic Charities USA to assist those who were affected by the flooding this spring with recovery efforts. If you have been impacted or are aware of others in the Archdiocese of Dubuque who have, please reach out to your local parish for more information.
 
Unfortunately, disasters are a part of this life and will continue to arise, many times without warning. The best time to think about disaster recovery is BEFORE a disaster occurs. Catholic Charities staff are available to assist parishes with preparedness planning now. In addition, our website has excellent preparedness resources for families that you are welcome to visit by clicking here. 
 
 
God Bless,
 
Tracy Morrison, Executive Director
 
 

Reaching Out
 

Friends of Catholic Charities are aware that we have been blessed with a team of talented, educated and caring counselors.  What many may not be aware of is the sincere quality of dedication they each hold to our vision of Providing Help & Creating Hope.

It is this dedication that inspires them to serve beyond the walls of their office space and out into our communities to provide education. Since the beginning of 2019, Catholic Charities counselors have provided presentations/trainings to over 240 attendees, including all Catholic school principals in the Archdiocese of Dubuque.  These events offer valuable education that help attendees better understand mental health and chip away at the stigma of mental illness. 

Three of Catholic Charities’ counselors, Lisa Turner, Lori Eastwood, and Lynne Lutze are certified instructors in Mental Health First Aid.  After attending a Mental Health First Aid training offered by these counselors, attendees leave better equipped to offer support to others who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health concern or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Recently, Catholic Charities was graciously awarded a grant from Allamakee County Community Foundation.  With the help of this funding,counselors Lisa Turner and Lori Eastwood had the opportunity to complete a week long training to become certified instructors in Youth Mental Health First Aid.  Now certified, Lisa and Lori will begin implementing YMHFA in Allamakee County. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

To learn more about our Counseling Program or Mental Health First Aid and view resources, please click here or call us at (563) 588-0558 with any questions.

Pictured top-left: Counselor, Angela Link
Pictured bottom-right: Counselors, Lisa Turner & Lori Eastwood
 
 
 

Love Your Neighbor
 
We live in a society in which we are often quick to judge, make assumptions, and stereotype. We can be unforgiving, shame, criticize, blame, and pass judgement on those we view as different than us. Different in the way they look, talk, dress, their socioeconomic status, and on…and…on. We put people on some kind of theoretical ranking system that allows us to conceive this person is more valuable, more respected, more loved, more intelligent…better.
 
Answer this question honestly, only you will know how you answer…When you hear the word “criminal” what are your thoughts, feelings? Did you immediately think something negative, put yourself and the “criminal” on that theoretical ranking system in which you were “higher” than them? Most likely, you didn’t associate the word “criminal” with “vulnerable.”  
 
Now imagine being judged for one of your worst sins, mistakes, accidents. Imagine that nobody will hire you, give you a place to live, that you have nobody in your corner to rely on or make you feel less alone. This is what vulnerable looks like. 
 
The truth is criminal offenders and ex-offenders can be some of the most vulnerable members of our society. These individuals are often released from incarceration to return to their communities with no employment, home, or support system. For ex-offenders, these barriers make overcoming their past and working toward a positive future challenging, to say the least. So here’s another question…who is this really hurting? 
 
Because we live in a world where we look for justice in “an eye for an eye” mentality we easily forget who we seek “justice” against. Every “offender” is a son or daughter, father/mother, brother/sister, neighbor. They are loved. Remember, God loves the “sinner” just as much as He loves those who view themselves as better on that theoretical ranking system. So again, who is it really hurting when we create barriers for others to be successful community members?
 
When faced with these hard truths, it’s nice to retrieve an old quote from our beloved neighbor, Mr Rogers, “look for the helpers.” Fred Rogers’s famous advice comes from this story he shared with his young viewers. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”  The “helpers” are Catholic Charities’ Jail & Prison Ministry / Re-entry Program vast network of INVALUABLE, CARING, SELFLESS volunteers. These are the helpers on the shore waving their bright lights for those in the darkness.  
 
These volunteers not only share their time during visits with inmates in jails and prisons, but also upon their release. It is during this time that Catholic Charities’ volunteers walk beside these individuals by mentoring, guiding and wrapping a circle of support around them.  
 
When someone feels supported, loved, that they matter, something amazing happens…they blossom. They begin to believe in themselves, believe they are capable of more, believe they are smarter than they thought. They begin to want a better life. 
 
This ministry would not exist nor could it be as successful without the incredible volunteers who show up to make our world a better place for all. This ministry is growing and our hope is that we never have to turn anyone away who is looking for support, but we need your help. To learn more about our Jail & Prison Ministry/Re-Entry Program, please visit our website by clicking here and/or to fill out a volunteer application, click here. You may also contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Teresa King at Teresa.King@dbqarch.org or by phone at (319) 272-2080.
 
“My mentors in the Jail & Prison Ministry Program genuinely took an interest in me, and it’s changed my life. I have a life today because of this program!” – Angel, a Jail & Prison Ministry participant
 

Summer-Time Fun!
 
Catholic Charities’ Ecumenical Tower residents recently had a fun visit from Character Campers of Two by Two Education. The children visited with residents and performed cheers and songs they’ve been working on about Two by Two’s core values. Two by Two’s services are committed to developing responsible citizens of strong character who care for, respect, and appreciate people, animals, and the environment.
 
Ecumenical Tower is an 88 unit senior/disabled adult apartment complex located in downtown Dubuque. To learn more about Ecumenical Tower and other Catholic Charities’ affordable housing properties, visit our website by clicking here.
 

Sisters of the Presentation – Garage Sale
 
 
For the 14th year, Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque again worked tirelessly organizing their annual Garage Sale, only to benefit others. Catholic Charities was honored to be selected as one of the two beneficiaries of the proceeds from the sale that was held April 25th through the 27th. The Presentation sisters are passionate about ensuring counseling and immigration legal services are available to anyone, regardless of the ability to pay so they asked that the funds be used to support these ministries.
 
These funds allow Catholic Charities counselors to provide professional counseling services to individuals, families, and couples who may be experiencing various social, emotional and interpersonal struggles who otherwise could not afford such services. These proceeds also allow Immigration Attorneys to provide affordable legal services to help reunite families by assisting them in navigating the immigration system and advocating on their behalf. 
 
Catholic Charities would like to sincerely thank Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the many volunteers who supported this sale with donations of items, baked goods, purchases and precious time. 
 
 
 
Pictured left-right: Sisters Jeanine Kuhn,
Lynn Marie Fangman, Assoc. Mary Lou Mauss & Catholic Charities-Cristy Manternach 
 
 
 

Keeping Families Together
 
 
You may be wondering why you are no longer seeing articles regarding Catholic Charities’ Immigration Legal Services in our newsletter. We are happy to share that we now publish a separate newsletter, Keeping Families Together focusing attention entirely on ever changing Immigration updates and stories. Be sure to sign up here to receive this bi-monthly newsletter. You won’t want to miss it.